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TMZ.com is a celebrity news website that debuted on November 8, 2005. It was a collaboration between America Online (AOL) and Telepictures Productions
Telepictures
Telepictures is an American production company, currently operating as a label of Warner Bros. Television, with Hilary Estey McLoughlin currently serving as President...

, a division of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

, until Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

 divested AOL in 2009. However, it is still affiliated with AOL News and has the AOL News logo affixed in the upper right corner. The letters TMZ stand for thirty-mile zone, referring to the "studio zone
Studio zone
In the American entertainment industry, the studio zone, also known as the thirty-mile zone or the TMZ, is the area within a 30-mile radius from the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, California...

" within a 30 miles (48.3 km) radius of the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard
Beverly Boulevard
Beverly Boulevard is one of the main east-west thoroughfares in Los Angeles, California. It begins off Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills and ends on the Lucas Avenue overpass near Downtown Los Angeles to become 1st Street...

 and North La Cienega Boulevard
La Cienega Boulevard
La Cienega Boulevard is a major, well-known north–south arterial road that runs between El Segundo Boulevard in El Segundo, California on the south and the Sunset Strip/Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood....

 in Los Angeles. Shooting within this zone is considered local. Locations outside this zone are subject to mileage and travel time charges by the talent and crew.

TMZ's managing editor
Managing editor
A managing editor is a senior member of a publication's management team.In the United States, a managing editor oversees and coordinates the publication's editorial activities...

 is Harvey Levin
Harvey Levin
Harvey Robert Levin is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst and a celebrity reporter. He is the founder of celebrity gossip website TMZ.com.-Education:...

, a lawyer-turned-journalist who got his start as a legal expert on LA's KCBS-TV
KCBS-TV
KCBS-TV, channel 2, is an owned-and-operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Los Angeles, California. KCBS-TV shares its offices and studio facilities with sister station KCAL-TV inside CBS Studio Center in the Studio City section of Los Angeles, and its transmitter...

. The site claims that it does not pay for stories or interviews; however, Levin has admitted that TMZ does "sometimes pay sources for leads on stories". Levin has stated that "everything is researched and vetted for accuracy." A companion TV series, TMZ on TV
TMZ on TV
TMZ on TV, or simply TMZ and TMZTV, is an American syndicated entertainment and gossip news television show that premiered on September 10, 2007. The program is generally aired on Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates, though a majority of the stations that carry the series are Fox affiliates...

, debuted on September 10, 2007.

Development


Seven months prior to the official launch of TMZ.com, America Online (AOL) had hinted that it was planning to launch a Hollywood- and entertainment-centric news site that would be produced in conjunction with Telepictures Productions and had shown interest in launching a website featuring a focus mainly on celebrities. At the time of the launch, AOL confirmed that the site would primarily feature and consist of Hollywood gossip, including interviews, photos and video footage of celebrities and information pertaining to industry news on movies, television shows, etc. The site was described as "an effort to further feed the current American obsession with celebrities". Mike Shields of MediaWeek.com wrote, "the site also boasts of an expansive collection of archived star photos and videos", allowing fans to "trace changing hairlines and waistlines of their favorites performers over the years".

Background


Since 2005, TMZ.com has signed Revlon
Revlon
Revlon is an American cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and personal care company founded in 1932.-History:Revlon was founded in the midst of the Great Depression, 1932, by Charles Revson and his brother Joseph, along with a chemist, Charles Lachman, who contributed the "L" in the Revlon name...

, Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

, Hilton Hotels
Hilton Hotels
Hilton Hotels & Resorts is an international chain of full-service hotels and resorts founded by Conrad Hilton and now owned by Hilton Worldwide. Hilton hotels are either owned by, managed by, or franchised to independent operators by Hilton Worldwide. Hilton Hotels became the first coast-to-coast...

 (ironically related to Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton
Paris Whitney Hilton is an American businesswoman, heiress, and socialite. She is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton . Hilton is known for her controversial participation in a sex tape in 2003, and appearance on the television series The Simple Life alongside fellow socialite and childhood...

, who is often mocked by the Web site) and New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema, often simply referred to as New Line, is an American film studio. It was founded in 1967 by Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne as a film distributor, later becoming an independent film studio. It became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996 and was merged with larger sister studio Warner...

 as charter advertisers to their Web site. The New York Times cited TMZ.com as "one of the most successful online ventures of the last few years." In October 2008, the New York Times reported that TMZ.com, at the time, was receiving more than 10 million viewers every month. Alexa.com ranked TMZ.com as the five-hundred-fifth most trafficked website worldwide and as the one hundred-fifty-fifth most trafficked website in the United States.

Levin has acknowledged that TMZ.com has passed on multiple notable coverage because he felt that, while the stories are true, he questioned how the sources obtained their information. Levin has acknowledged that TMZ.com pays source, but in the form of a "tip fee". Levin stated that TMZ.com pays for photos and for 'tips' and or leads on stories, and defended TMZ's position by stating that the sources and tips are verified before being used and or reported.

In November 2009, TMZ's revenue was publicly disclosed for the first time. Telepictures (which TMZ.com is operated by) stated: "Subject to certain performance adjustments and the reimbursement of expenses, revenues are split evenly between the parties [...] Telepictures received payments of $6.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, and $12.7 million, $9.6 million and $3.0 million in 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively." Based on released figures, TMZ's revenues for 2008 was $25.4 million and is projected to have less revenue in the 2009 year with the revenue of $12.4 million in first three quarters of the year—unlike the previous year, which was within the $15 million range.

Notable coverage


On July 28, 2006, TMZ.com was the first to report that actor Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson, AO is an American actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old and later studied acting at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art.After appearing in...

 had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Along with releasing the story, TMZ also reported "exclusive details" about the case shortly after. In the report TMZ.com posted, it contained his transport to the station and time in custody, and quoted an "anonymous law enforcement source", and published four pages of a handwritten arrest report, via a PDF file. TMZ stated that the documents they posted were part of the original eight-page report which was written by the arresting officer, before the officer was allegedly instructed, by his superiors, to omit the inflammatory details about Gibson's alleged anti-Semitic comments and behavior.

On November 7, 2006, TMZ.com was the first to report that pop-singer Britney Spears
Britney Spears
Britney Jean Spears is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album...

 had filed a petition for divorce from then-husband Kevin Federline
Kevin Federline
Kevin Earl Federline is an American dancer, rapper, fashion model, and actor. Previously engaged to actress Shar Jackson, Federline is best known for his two-year marriage to pop singer Britney Spears...

. On May 3, 2007, TMZ was the first to break the story, and exclusively obtain documents, stating that socialite Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton
Paris Whitney Hilton is an American businesswoman, heiress, and socialite. She is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton . Hilton is known for her controversial participation in a sex tape in 2003, and appearance on the television series The Simple Life alongside fellow socialite and childhood...

 would be sentenced to forty-five days in jail as her sentencing for driving with a suspended license after losing her license from driving under the influence alcohol four months prior.

On February 22, 2009, TMZ released what has been identified as a police evidence photo of pop-singer Rihanna
Rihanna
Robyn Rihanna Fenty , better known as simply Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers...

 after she was assaulted by now ex-partner Chris Brown. Shortly after the photo's release, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced that it was investigating the leak and 'possible sale of the photo of Rihanna with a bruised and battered face after TMZ published them because the photo had been considered evidence. TMZ has claimed it obtained the photo legally but has not said how it came into possession of the photo. In the aftermath of the release of the photo, in May of the same year, a 'law', referred to as 'Rihanna Law', entitled "STOParazzi", was made The 'law'; because of the "spurred" release of the photo, aims to prevent victim exploitation.

On February 24, 2009, TMZ.com was the first to break the story that, out of the $1.6 billion Chicago's Northern Trust Bank received in federal bailout money (which they never requested and were hesitant to accept ), recipients of the money subsequently spent non-TARP dollars (dollars that were already allocated for the Northern Trust Open prior to the Capital Purchse Program ) entertaining clients in Los Angeles at venues like the House of Blues
House of Blues
House of Blues is a chain of 13 live music concert halls and restaurants in major markets throughout the United States. House of Blues first location was in Cambridge's Harvard Square. It was opened in 1992 by Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of Hard Rock Cafe, and Dan Aykroyd, star of The Blues Brothers...

 that featured performances by Chicago
Chicago (band)
Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The self-described "rock and roll band with horns" began as a politically charged, sometimes experimental, rock band and later moved to a predominantly softer sound, becoming famous for producing a number of hit ballads. They had...

, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Suzanne Crow is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, musician, and actress. Her music incorporates elements of rock, folk, hip hop, country and pop...

 and gift bags from Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. is an American jewelry and silverware company. As part of its branding, the company is strongly associated with its Tiffany Blue , which is a registered trademark.- History :...

  Shortly after TMZ.com published the story, United States Congressman Barney Frank
Barney Frank
Barney Frank is the U.S. Representative for . A member of the Democratic Party, he is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.Born and raised in New Jersey, Frank graduated from Harvard College and...

 demanded that Northern Trust repay the money it received in the bailout. Northern Trust CEO Frederick Waddell sent a letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee, stating that the bank will repay the money "as quickly as prudently possible", although at the time Congress had not yet provided provisions for the repayment of TARP funds, thus delaying the process. When Northern Trust was finally allowed to repay the TARP money on June 17, 2009, taxpayers received a 14% return on the investment, beating all major market indices over the same time period..

TMZ was the first to break the report of the death of Michael Jackson
Death of Michael Jackson
On June 25, 2009, American singer Michael Jackson died of acute propofol intoxication after he suffered a respiratory arrest at his home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. His personal physician, Conrad Murray, said he found Jackson in his room, not breathing, but with a faint pulse,...

 on June 25, 2009. The report was treated with caution by mainstream media sources at the time, despite being cited on rolling news channels. TMZ's scoop beat the major broadcast and cable news outlets by almost 3 hours, until CNN finally confimed the story as well. Part of this delay was later explained as the other outlets' "stricter confirmation standards," but Levin said, during an interview with Huffington Post, that TMZ.com, at the time of posting the subject, verified the story and sources. "Well, before it was officially announced. We really knew this significantly before even what was going on, but this was, you know, crossing every t. We were positive when we put it up. We put it up when we were 100% positive." TMZ were also the first to receive the coroner's report of the singer on February 8, 2010, proving Propofol dosage and negligence killed the pop legend.

TMZ was also the first to break the news of the death of Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy
Brittany Anne Murphy-Monjack , known professionally as Brittany Murphy, was an American actress and singer. She starred in films such as Clueless, Just Married, Girl Interrupted, Spun, 8 Mile, Uptown Girls, Sin City, Happy Feet, and Riding in Cars with Boys...

 on December 20, 2009.

Contempt of court motion


On June 20, 2007, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee filed an emergency motion requesting that the Web site be held in contempt
Contempt of court
Contempt of court is a court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority...

 for its publication of the entire manuscript of If I Did It
If I Did It
If I Did It is a book by O. J. Simpson, in which he puts forth a hypothetical description of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Simpson was tried and acquitted of the murders in a criminal trial but later found financially liable in a civil trial...

, O.J. Simpson's purportedly fictionalized account of the murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson
Nicole Brown Simpson
Nicole Brown Simpson was a former wife of professional football player O. J. Simpson.- Relationship with O. J. Simpson :...

. The filing claims that TMZ's posting of the PDF of the entire book has "diminished or destroyed" the value, which the Goldman family eventually published as Simpson's confession to the murders.

Photographer altercation


While actor Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson
Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson is an American actor.Harrelson's breakthrough role came in the television sitcom Cheers as bartender Woody Boyd...

 was at New York City's La Guardia Airport, he had an altercation with a photographer for TMZ.com. Harrelson defended himself stating that he'd at the time just finished filming his scenes from the horror film, that consists mainly of zombies, Zombieland
Zombieland
Zombieland is a 2009 American zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as survivors of a zombie apocalypse...

, and that he was "startled" by the TMZ photographer. "I wrapped a movie called Zombieland, in which I was constantly under assault by zombies, then flew to New York, still very much in character ... With my daughter at the airport I was startled by a paparazzo, who I quite understandably mistook for a zombie."

Blocked in the UK


On December 24, 2010 the gossip blog Oh No They Didn't
Oh No They Didn't
Oh No They Didn't, also known as ONTD, is the largest community on LiveJournal, with over 100,000 members. The community focuses on celebrity gossip and pop culture, with most of its posts aggregated from other gossip blogs. The site formed a partnership with pop culture blog network Buzz Media in...

 reported that TMZ.com began to block traffic from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, displaying the message: "Due to laws within your region, you are unable to view this website." Asked for further comment, TMZ.com responded that the blocking was due to "legal restrictions". The UK website Popbitch
Popbitch
Popbitch is a weekly UK-based celebrity and pop music newsletter and associated website dating from the early 2000s. Much of the material for the newsletter comes from the Popbitch message boards, frequented by music industry insiders, gossips and the casually interested...

 Board noted on December 31, 2010 that it is possible to get round the block by accessing the website through the Google Translate website. As of January 7, 2011, TMZ is accessible to the UK.

TMZ Live



TMZ Live is a live-chat program from TMZ.com., that features Levin and Charles, and occasionally "Mike" (with occasional fill-in(s) for one or the both of them) that consists of reviewing information TMZ is covering on the website. The live-chat takes place at the TMZ office. From Monday to Thursday the live-chat lasts for on average thirty minutes, but on Fridays it usually lasts forty minutes to one hour.

TMZ Live lasts longer on Friday presumably because TMZ Live doesn't air for the next two days, so TMZ makes up for it by extending the time on the last live-chat for the week. As part of the live-chat, TMZ.com offers viewers who register and are currently logged into their site, the option to be able to ask the host(s) questions about any topic, mainly relevant topics and topics that are being covered on the site. As part of asking question(s), viewers leave their question(s) in the comments section of a post reminding viewers that TMZ Live will begin soon. During TMZ Live the host(s) answer specific questions they read off via a printer that is printing out all of the questions posted. On certain occasions TMZ Live has featured interviews with celebrities, doctors and people with helpful information, i.e. Dina Lohan
Dina Lohan
Donata "Dina" Lohan is a television personality and occasional actress who rose to fame as the mother and manager of actress/pop singer Lindsay Lohan, and Lindsay's younger sister Ali Lohan, with whom Dina co-starred in the reality show Living Lohan.-Family and marriage:Lohan was born and raised...

 (to talk about Michael
Michael Lohan
Michael Lohan, Sr. is the ex-husband of Dina Lohan and the father of Lindsay, Michael Lohan Jr., Ali, and Cody Lohan.-Early life:...

 video taping and releasing phone conversations of her and her daughter.
Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan is an American actress, pop singer and model. She began her career as a child fashion model before making her motion picture debut in Disney's 1998 remake of The Parent Trap at the age of 11...

), Dr. Arnold Klein (to talk about his client, Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

), and Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest
Ryan John Seacrest is an American radio personality, television host, network producer and voice actor. He is the host of On Air with Ryan Seacrest, a nationally syndicated Top 40 radio show that airs on KIIS-FM in Los Angeles and throughout the United States and Canada on Premiere Radio Networks,...

 (to talk about his stalker and the next season of American Idol
American Idol
American Idol, titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment...

).

TMZ on TV



On September 10, 2007, TMZ.com launched an accompanying television series, entitled TMZ on TV
TMZ on TV
TMZ on TV, or simply TMZ and TMZTV, is an American syndicated entertainment and gossip news television show that premiered on September 10, 2007. The program is generally aired on Fox, The CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates, though a majority of the stations that carry the series are Fox affiliates...

. The syndicated television series airs from Monday to Friday; excluding weekends, similar to TMZ Live.

In the United States, the show airs in various timeslots on various stations, mainly either in early primetime or after late local news, with a 'best-of' program airing during weekends. The show covers stories similar to the website and TMZ Live, with the only difference being that TMZ on TV is only on TV and the other two branches are only on the web. TMZ.com offers viewers the option of being able to watch full episodes from the show on their website after the episode's air-date. Chris Persell, of TVWeek.com, stated that the show is a "complement [to] the Web site, with news updates added to later airings of the show". Levin and Jim Paratore served as executive producers to the show, and the on-air cast included Teresa Strasser, John Fugelsang
John Fugelsang
John Fugelsang is an American actor, television personality and stand-up comedian.-Stage and screen:...

, Ben Mankiewicz and Michael Hundgen. David Bianculli of The New York Daily News strongly criticized the television show, its topics, and what he sees as its reporters' tactics and lack of professionalism.

Criticism



Since the launch of TMZ.com, the website has faced criticism, varying from attempted boycotts to criticism of its journalism tactics to its website's focus. The TMZ website has been criticized for its usage of photographs and videos obtained from paparazzi
Paparazzi
Paparazzi is an Italian term used to refer to photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people...

. Some have questioned the effect that aggressive and obtrusive photographers have on the subjects they cover. Many of their videos on the site show, in the footage, that their paparazzi chase people (mainly celebrities)—a practice that has been called dangerous and "creepy". Over the years, some have called for a boycott of TMZ.com and the accompanying show. Thane Burnett, of the Toronto Sun
Toronto Sun
The Toronto Sun is an English-language daily tabloid newspaper published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is known for its daily Sunshine Girl feature and for what it sees as a populist conservative editorial stance.-History:...

, criticized TMZ.com's content as being more of a gossip site, rather than reporting on newsworthy items, stating: "Instead, on the TMZ site you'll find images of a favourite male celebrity peeing into bushes."

TMZ.com faced strong criticism for purchasing stolen items pertaining to the fourth Indiana Jones film; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. On October 2, 2007, IESB reported that a number of production photos and sensitive documents pertaining to the production budget had been stolen from Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's production office. Movie City News, which strongly criticized TMZ for purchasing stolen items, remarked that the then-new website "wasn't getting off to a good start". According to IESB, TMZ.com had obtained some of the stolen property and was planning on running a story about the topic on their TV show, until the film's production company, Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

, lawyers intervened. Shortly after IESB broke the story, TMZ broadcasted details about the Indiana Jones production budget on TMZ on TV on the October 3, 2007.
Tony Manfred of The Cornell Daily Sun
The Cornell Daily Sun
The Cornell Daily Sun is an independent daily newspaper published in Ithaca, New York by students at Cornell University. It is the oldest independent college daily in the United States....

strongly criticized TMZ.com in an article entitled "I Want My TMZ", in which Manfred criticizes various aspects of TMZ. Manfred described TMZ.com as being "a fusion of celebrity news blog and embarrassing video archive" and felt that the website had become "the poster child for the celebrity pseudo-news industry" and that the website has "distinct advantages" over "gossip magazine
Gossip magazine
Gossip magazines feature scandalous stories about the personal lives of celebrities. This genre of magazine flourished in North America in the 1950s and early 1960s. The title Confidential alone boasted a monthly circulation in excess of ten million, and it had many competitors, with names like...

s" because it can "show all the borderline pornographic clips that Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight
Entertainment Tonight is a daily tabloid television entertainment television news show that is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution throughout the United States, Canada and in many countries around the world. Linda Bell Blue is currently the program's executive producer...

and Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood is a weekday television entertainment news program covering events and celebrities in the entertainment industry. It was created by former Entertainment Tonight executive producer Jim Van Messel, and is currently directed by Robert Silverstein. In previous years, Doug Dougherty and...

can’t." Manfred also noted that he felt that the website was "balanced", remarking that: "And by balanced I mean they strike a perfect equilibrium between three distinct categories of trashy video clip. I’ll group these videos into the following categories: the 'Action Caused Either Entirely or More Than Partly By Alcohol,' the 'Celebrity Car Chase,' and the 'You’re Not Famous but You’re Near a Camera So Okay'".

Jennifer Metz and David Muir of ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 acknowledged that TMZ.com has long been criticized for their "aggressive tactics, antagonizing stars with video cameras" and noted that those "encounters, capturing at times violent celebrity confrontations with photographers, receive hundreds of hits online, and critics ask if entertainment reporters are crossing the line." Metz and Muir also questioned whether TMZ.com's tactics 'go too far'.

Ken Sunshine
Ken Sunshine
Kenneth Mark Sunshine is an American public relations consultant. He grew up in Long Island and attended Cornell University. Sunshine started his career working for the ASCAP and then moved on to politics, serving as chief of staff for David Dinkins during his time as Mayor of New York City...

, publicist
Publicist
A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a public figure, especially a celebrity, a business, or for a work such as a book, film or album...

 for Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt , better known as Ben Affleck, is an American actor, film director, writer, and producer. He became known with his performances in Kevin Smith's films such as Mallrats and Chasing Amy...

 and Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor and film producer. He has received many awards, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Aviator , and has been nominated by the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television...

, stated that his clients disliked the website because it has a tendency to always be negative towards celebrities
Media bias
Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term "media bias" implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the...

 when reporting on them. "I hate that they have anything to do with trying to put celebrities into the worst light possible and that they play the 'gotcha
Gotcha journalism
Gotcha journalism is a term used to describe methods of interviewing which are designed to entrap interviewees into making statements which are damaging or discreditable to their cause, character, integrity, or reputation...

' game". The website has been harshly criticized for having a personality cult of figures such as Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan is an American actress, pop singer and model. She began her career as a child fashion model before making her motion picture debut in Disney's 1998 remake of The Parent Trap at the age of 11...

 and Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton
Paris Whitney Hilton is an American businesswoman, heiress, and socialite. She is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton . Hilton is known for her controversial participation in a sex tape in 2003, and appearance on the television series The Simple Life alongside fellow socialite and childhood...

 – celebrities who are known more as targets for paparazzi than for the work they do. In defense for TMZ's coverage, Levin said that certain celebrities are main subjects on the Web site because of their 'relevancy' and because their relevancy helps draw viewership to the Web site. Liz Kelly, of Washington Post, attacked both Levin and TMZ.com in an article, stating: "I know this is like spitting in the wind, but I have to say it: Harvey Levin, please stop it."

In what The Smoking Gun
The Smoking Gun
The Smoking Gun is a website that posts legal documents, arrest records, and police mugshots on a daily basis. The intent is to bring to the public light information that is damning, shocking, outrageous, or amazing, yet also somewhat obscure or unreported by more mainstream media sources...

 called "a colossal screw-up", TMZ.com published an "exclusive" picture on their Web site of a man purporting to be John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 on a ship with several naked women that could have "changed history" had it come out during his presidential campaign. Despite having a Photoshop expert proclaiming the picture as "authentic", the picture was later discovered to have not been of Kennedy at all. The photo was discovered to have been part of a Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

photoshoot from November 1967, which was later confirmed by Playboy representatives.

Audience statistics


As of April 2011, TMZ.com was ranked as the second most popular Entertainment News property in the United States by comScore
ComScore
comScore is a Internet marketing research company providing marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses. comScore tracks all internet data on its surveyed computers in order to study online behavior....

Media Metrix.
comScore US Rank Entertainment News Web Properties March 2011 Readers
1 OMG! by Yahoo 23.7 million
2 TMZ 18.5 million
3 People Magazine 13.5 million
4 BuzzMedia Entertainment 12.8 million
5 CNN Entertainment 10.1 million
6 Zimbio 8.9 million
7 Entertainment Weekly 8.2 million
8 E! Online 7.5 million
9 GossipCenter Network 7.1 million
10 Mail Online 6.5 million

External links